Re-posted from the Cross-Border Biotech Blog
By Jeremy Gruschow
A very interesting article in Nature Biotechnology from a group at the McLaughlin-Rotman Centre for Global Health provides some empirical support for a trend we’ve been following of increased innovative activity in developing countries.
According to the article, over 25% of Canadian biotechs collaborate with developing countries. Of these, however, the vast majority of companies do so alongside collaborations with other developed country partners — only 4% collaborate exclusively with developing countries. Also, gaining access to developing countries’ markets is the most frequent (66%) reason cited for collaboration.
Still, some of the data reflects the growing importance of developing country collaboration (China and India in particular):
- Canadian firms’ collaborations with India (17) and China (22) nearly equal the number of collaborations with Japan (18) and Germany (23); and
- Accessing knowledge from developing countries’ partners (24%) is approaching providing knowledge to developing countries’ partners (37%) as a reason for collaboration.
How do these collaborations look overall?
The figure from the paper on the left shows the geography of, and rationale for, the collaborations. Part “a” shows marketing and distribution collaborations, and part “b” shows those involving an R&D component.
What is the effect of all this activity?
Well, it’s hard to quantify, but the authors review revenue data from public company respondents and find that:
“average total revenues of firms that have North–South collaborations are nearly four times higher than firms that do not have such partnerships.”
My bottom line: causal or not, that’s a correlation that should cause all biotech companies to take note.
Jeremy Grushcow is a Foreign Legal Consultant practising corporate law at Ogilvy Renault LLP. He has a Ph.D. in Molecular Genetics and Cell Biology. His practice focuses on life science and technology companies.